Five species of native plants flower in late spring at Ōtari–Wilton’s Bush in Wellington, the only public garden in New Zealand dedicated to native plants. Many New Zealand plant species, even those that are not closely related, have small, white flowers to attract pollinators. Colour is a drain on a plant’s resources, and in New Zealand the main pollinators (flies, moths and short-tongued bees) are not specialised. So if bright colours are unnecessary, genetic selection tends to favour white flowers.
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Photograph by Melanie Lovell-Smith
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